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The Magpie

Saturday, October 6th, 2018   |   157 comments

Barry Taylor’s Enema Legal Gets Flushed Right Down The Drain: Bazza’s Bullying Tactic Thrown Out By Appeals Court.

If he wasn’t such a bombastic prick, you’d almost be tempted to feel sorry for legal foghorn Bazza Taylor. After the Supreme Court recently gave him an expensive kick in the goolies for fee gouging a client, he’s now had an attempt to legally bully The Magpie and his daughter thrown out on appeal. The ‘Pie  reports the details.

On the local front, Les Messagebank Walker goes even more bizarro, suggesting business people ‘love’ – yes, his word – being charged twice for a simple job bungled by the council. We examine his bizarre conclusion.

Not so much a whitewash as maybe a blue rinse? Bush fire brigade bureaucrats appear to have covered up the real reason why they have stood down two Bluewater/Toolakea bush brigade officers – one suspected of arson by a local landholder. The official story so far doesn’t make sense.

And vale Ron ‘Won’ Casey, who died during the week … The Magpie shares his  bittersweet memories of working with the man best remembered for clocking pop star Normie Rowe on live television.

But first …

What Lurks Beneath …

It may not be widely known, but our resident ‘toonist Bentley is a boat man from way back, a well regarded yachtie, even if he is starting to creak a little on the sheets (ropes to you landlubbers). So it is understandable that he is somewhat preoccupied with the proposed Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) proposed for waters off Townsville. By its nature, it will be a collection of statues only, as watercolours might tend to run a bit, and a collection of oils will have the Greenies up in arms.

But Bentley is worried about what hazards this may pose for unwary up above.

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What Aren’t We Being Told About Those ’Sackings’ At The Toolakea Rural Fire Brigade?

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A strange and clearly sympathetic interview in the Astonisher during the week raised more questions than it answered about possible serious and possibly criminal activity by members of the brigade. Former 1st officer Michael Cossens and his wife, Lorna, former 3rd officer, were ‘stood down’ (read sacked) from the Brigade after months of investigation into wide-ranging allegations of misconduct, including possible arson, and misuse of brigade equipment. But all the fire brigade bureaucrats have said – and apparently accepted by the Astonisher without question – is that Mr and Mrs Cossens had been ‘sanctioned for administrative matters’ – this palpable bullshit, because it  turns out to be some relatively piddling matter of not holding the brigade’s annual general meeting by due date – two years ago!

These fire brigade top brass must be taking lessons from the Townsville City Council … they must believe we are all bloody idiots. Not holding an AGM. by due date is surely knuckle-rapping territory, especially when it involves volunteers. But the Astonisher report, by Madura McCormack, wrote that ‘Five allegations have been levelled against the Cossens by the QFES, one being the failure to hold an annual general meeting by October 2017’, the but she does not bother to inquire or enlighten us what the four other charges concern and their possible outcome. Ms McCormack seems to be a new name at the Astonisher, so she may well have not been aware of the serious allegations levelled at Mr Cossens, and what appears to be his cavalier behaviour in other matters in the Bluewater/Toolakea area.

Well, she knows now. You will remember Cameron Richards, who featured in this blog several times regarding his allegations and formal complaints to the fire brigade HQ and the police regarding Mr Cossens’ behaviour towards his 77-year-old mother and local property owner, Sandra Richards. He has been patiently waiting for the outcome of an investigation by a Brisbane fire brigade bureaucrat who travelled to Townsville some  months ago to look into his claims, but was so incensed by the soft-soap developments this week, he has written to Ms McCormack, enlightening her some background.

Here is part of his letter.

Dear Madura,

I have good reason to believe you have been intentionally deceived about this story by a person who is facing possible criminal charges in relation to complaints made by mother in recent months but also by other parties as well. These complaints relate to admissions not denied by the person featured in the story (Michael Cossens) that since 2015 he has regularly acted to intimidate and harass people in the Northern Beaches area of Townsville (as well as undertake other activities that are the focus of complaints against him by at least several parties) in relation to misusing his RFS authority, uniform and vehicle whilst he has also or really been acting for a secretive overseas developers and their local representatives who appear to have a dodgy agenda in the area.

My 77 year old mother’s specific complaint is that Mr. Cossens so confronted her and threatened her two days before 7klms of her boundary fence on a property at Moongabulla were apparently  burnt down by Mr. Cossens misusing his RFS authority when boasting he was acting for her neighbours (who now are the overseas private developers who have designs on the whole Northern Beaches area of Townsville). We have accumulated enough supporting evidence since then to make a formal complaint to the police as well as RFS/QFES about this some months ago. The locally infamous bulldozing of a number of Toolakea beach shacks (as well as the apparent assault of the daughter of an 80 year old Vietnam War veteran with PTSD who owned one of these shacks) is a similar as well as related story. And there are more such accounts we are aware of. 

Since first complaining to the RFS and also the QFES we had been assured on two occasions that Mr. Cossins was in the process of being suspended and likely expelled from the RFS because he could not provide any reasonable explanation for his behaviour. One of those occasions was just few months ago when a high-level QFES investigator went to Townsville to follow up on complaints made. This was just before a controversial land clearance for the same developers was apparently organised by Mr. Cossens and he could not help boasting about this on the local television news.

So we can provide you with the email we sent the RFS and QFES to alert them about this and ask why they had not followed up as assured.  On 21st August we got an email from the Qld RFS Assistant Commissioner saying that an investigation had been completed, and that in light of that he wrote to us saying “I can advise that the RFS has removed Mr Cossens from holding an office bearing position position with the Brigade, and the RFS vehicle and equipment has been retrieved. Mr. Cossens has also been removed from holding the Deputy Fire Warden position”

You will have to admit that this is all a long way from merely being “sanctioned for administrative matters” as you have been informed or have written in our story. It is also worth noting that my mother was happy to see Mr. Cossens gone but unhappy that the RFS and QFES saw fit to close down a local RFS centre (we believe this may have been to avoid publicity by having to explain the real reason for Mr. Cossens departure). This is especially in relation to how my mother is herself (along with my recently departed father) both recipients of state awards for lifetime service to the RFS.

The Magpie has allowed this item to run to length although it does cover matters broached in detail in previous posts. But it clear there is much more to this than the Bulletin is willing to investigate or the management of the rural fire brigade is willing to release, so stay tuned here to keep up with any outcomes of interest.

You’ve Got To Hand It To Our Deputy Mayor: Messagebank Walker Certainly Has A Unique World View.

Deputy Doo Dah Les Messagebank Walker

Deputy Doo Dah Les Messagebank Walker

If the Disney people hear about him, they may sue Les Walker for plagiarising Goofy. One can’t be sure if Les realises that Mayor Mullet is setting him up as the fall guy on various matters which she doesn’t want to touch with a barge pole. He will be in the cross hairs when this pretend ‘bus hub’ is finally operational … all those years of political in-fighting and we end up getting a few sun shelters, and a road where a sorely needed CBD business used to trade. The mayor also let’s him take the running on other matters that may ultimately prove a bit embarrassing, including some sections of the water pipeline project.

But Messagebank’s crowning goofiness was on display at another council disaster during the week, the botched footpath work in Mooney Street. The council agreed that the initial work two or three months ago was a complete clusterfuck – well, they could hardly do otherwise – it was so sub-standard that heads should’ve rolled – if they did, no one was saying so. Local businesses screamed blue murder, the Daily Astonisher ran this …

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… leaving council little choice but to right the considerable wrong.

But now that the TCC blokes are back on the job doing an expensive make-good, Messagebank has been wheeled out with some truly inane commentary., The best quote: It’s no secret that council’s first attempt at fixing the footpath here on Mooney St wasn’t up to standard but we have come back to redo the job right – and local businesses love it.

They what???  Really?  That’s a intedesting assumption when we read on to see this: Speaking to the Bulletin in June, Gallon’s Automotive owner and mechanic Geoff Gallon said the initial work done was a complete waste of money. “It should have been done once and done right,” he said. The driveway to get into my workshop is so bad that I’ve poured concrete over it myself to get into the driveway.”

But once Les had put his gob into drive, there was no stopping him.

“This is just another example of a council project that is improving our suburbs and creating jobs for locals.”

Eh? How’s that creating jobs for locals, the blokes fixing up the fuck-up are already employed, and you can be sure no new hands were taken on. And the original botch-up was also by already employed locals.

Then as proof that Mayor Mullet could see massive downsides to being anywhere near this mini-catastrophe, she allowed the local councillor Maurie Soars off his leash to make an appearance, but he fared no better than Walker. Quote: “Local representative Cr Maurie Soars said the works had been received positively by local businesses and residents. “The quality of the work that is happening here is first class and there’s a lot of excitement about how it is going to enhance the streetscape, “ Clr Soars said.”

Christ, what drone wrote that little bit of drivel for you, mate? Well, Muzza, all we can assume is that folks out on Mooney Street are easily excited about things, but not half as excited as they would’ve been if the quality of the work had been ‘first class’ in the first place. Perhaps they’re excited of having to pay rates that are used to have the same work done twice.

Court Tells Barry Taylor ’Stop Bullying The Magpie’s Daughter’

Well, maybe not in those words, but that’s exactly the message from the Court of Appeals in a judgement just handed down in Brisbane.

Barry Big BazzaTaylor

A brief background: it seems there was a council of war at Bazza’s Noosa gin palace last year, with Peter ‘Typo’ Gleeson and his wife, Venesa, a mediocre solicitor working for Taylor’s Enema Legal (yeah, all right, it’s actually Emanate, but still…). Taylor has for more than a decade had a hatred of The Magpie for no known or perceived reason and had made occasional (usually drunken) empty threats to sue. And Gleeson, a touchy incompetent News executive with a long memory, has never forgiven The Magpie for making him apologise publicly to his daughter for workplace bullying.

So they came up with a scheme to find someone with a grievance against this blog, and use said person as a stalking horse to gain their own cowardly satisfaction. Bazza first approached Dolan Hayes, who, being no mug, told him to piss off. Then Rabieh Krayem was approached and fell for it, agreeing to whatever deal Taylor was offering to sue over some fairly inoccuous mentions here in the Nest.

Rabieh Krayem

RK issued court papers demanding $300,000 in damages (well, laugh? The ‘Pie almost popped a ploofer valve), fooled by reports of a damages award The ‘Pie himself had received from News Ltd for defamation.

It then became apparent that they’d made a boo boo, because just about all of the money The ‘Pie was awarded was already spoken for and disposed of, so they decided to join my daughter Joady in the action because they suspected this working mother and wife had been a benificiary and in this roundabout route, could disrupt everybody’s lives and well being, this being a major objective of these creeps. This would also serve as some revenge for Gleeson’s apology to Joady, which he still smarts about to this day. The spurious grounds offered was that Joady was ‘co-publisher’ simply because she had helped her father register the site when it was set up in 2010. This was a legally cynical move aimed more at distressing me than my hapless daughter, who has never had anything to do with this blog’s content – she doesn’t even know who comments are about, since she doesn’t and never has lived in Townsville … or in Queensland for that matter. She certainly never pressed the ‘publish’ button and, in truth, has little interest in the ramblings of her old man.

We challenged her involvement but the initial court hearing found that she was liable. However The Magpie’s solicitor and friend, Greg Humphries of Connolly Suthers, was quietly furious at this blatant attempt at bullying an innocent party for low ulterior motives, and appealed that decision. With barrister Tony Moon, they argued our case with the Appeals Court, who last week found that the original judge had erred in his reading of such social media responsibilities, and chucked out the whole Joady action. 

So now, it’s just Rabieh against The Magpie, and Barry’s unfortunate patsy is starting out behind the 8-ball on a couple of accounts. For a start, in a stand-by-her-man bit of idiocy, Vanesa Gleeson was tapped to run RK’s case, and she’s already lost round one, despite or maybe because of Bazza constantly looking over shoulder – a recipe for disaster in itself, one would think. Mrs Gleeson was also the solicitor in the Supreme Court fee gouging matter that Emanate was forced to settle out of court or face the real possibility of a severe public censure from the bench.

And even if this ever gets to trial (God, wish I could sell tickets) , RK will lose, one way or the other – if in the unlikely event that he wins, the best he will be able to do is spend further money and bankrupt the generally impecunious Magpie (and likely have to cough up tens of thousands in Barry’s costs because the loser (me)  can’t pay as required). And Bazza hates doing anything for nothing … not that he probably ever has.

If The Magpie wins, RK will be up for … what’s the technical term, ummm … ah, yes, ‘shitloads’ in costs for BOTH sides.

The ‘Pie could be excused for finding all this a tad tedious, but he is actually looking forward to getting into court, so you, Rabieh, can answer a few pointed questions on matters to which you have objected in this blog. Oh and there’ll be a new one added, from information of this week. Are you going to pay the $8000 you skipped out on and still owe North Queensland Football for ground rental when you were running the Fury?  Surely you’d agree that only a dud businessman would walk away from such a debt.

In Passing:

Re Daylight Saving. Premier Alphabet says she won’t be revisiting the issue, because ‘only 55%’ of Queenslanders favoured its introduction, a percentage which is a majority but one the premier mysteriously described as ‘irrelevant’.

Strange that 60% of the population in favour of same-sex marriage is an “overwhelming majority”, but 55% in favour of daylight saving is irrelevant.

Some You’ll Aways Remember:  Others You’ll Never Be Able Forget – Ron Casey Was A Bit Of Both

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Sports broadcaster Ron ‘Won’ Casey died this week aged 89. He will now be ensconced in that uniquely Australian pantheon of larrikin public figures, a bloke you either loved or hated, there was no being indifferent to Ronald Arthur Casey, OAM.

Ron suffered from, or thrived on, what might be called a television version of footballer’s white line fever … a sort Les Boyd of TV. Both were perfectly agreeable reasonable, and often quietly considered off screen or pitch, but the moment they crossed that white touch line onto the public field, all restraint and ordinary discipline went by the board. Fortunately, Ron didn’t go in for Les’s eye-gouging and nut punching. But he could buy himself as much trouble in other ways.

Ron and The ‘Pie had … as they say … history.

As Ron’s television producer on two Sydney television stations over a decade, The ‘Pie knew Casey as an unpredictable work colleague and sometime friend. In 1977 at TCN 9, where I was senior news producer, I became so exasperated with Casey disrupting the newsroom with distracting behaviour as deadline approached, I called him a dickhead. He promptly walked out, and went home, minutes before due on air in the top rating weekend newscast.

I was hauled in front of News Director Mike Ramsden, who was brief in his admonishment. ‘We all know Ron’s a dickhead, but did you have to tell him? Don’t do it again.’ I didn’t and relations remained cool until I left to try my hand at business outside television. The incident caused much on-going locker room yukyukyuckery in TV circles, and five or six years later, I was back in TV, at TEN 10 sports, producing news sport when management suddenly hired Ron. There was a great deal of smirking anticipation because his walk-out and reasons for it were now legend, so when Ron arrived for his first weekend shift, he played up to the tattling, walking into the newsroom and shaping up to me like a boxer … then burst out laughing, and we shook hands. We got on well for the next three or four years.

Ron’s distinctive lisping delivery became a radio hallmark in the Sydney market at 2KY. I was by that time, executive producer at Radio 2UE, and the station had just signed the controversial rugby coach Alan Jones for his first stint in radio. Casey, a no-holds-barred- homophobe, played up to the rugby dissidents who loathed Jones  for what they were certain was his undeclared homosexuality. Rugby and Rugby League great Dick Thornett told me once that he knew Jones used his selection powers to get sexual favours from some younger players, getting them, in Dick’s words ‘to play the blue veined flute’. This of course was never proved and Jones to this day is undeclared in this and much of the rest of his private life. But Ron let fly on air publicly when the slightest opportunity presented itself, so on the morning of Jones’ highly publicised debut on 2UE, we were all monitoring Casey on 2KY breakfast.

Ron came on, and unexpectedly welcomed Jones to the ranks of broadcasters, and declared that he was willing to let bygones be bygones, wished him all the luck in his new career, and said to show his sincerity, he was dedicating the next song to him because he knew Alan would like it … he then played Abba’s Dancing Queen. Casey kept giggling through the rest of his show.

With admirable self control, Jones made out he didn’t get the jibe and thought it nice of Casey. But then, given further engagement with Jones , I found he didn’t really have  sense of humour that I could discern – so maybe he actually didn’t get it.

But I prefer to remember the more thoughtful and friendly Ron, who could talk most intelligently about current matters, especially sport (he been a champion swimmer in his youth).

I will always remember Ron … because a bloke like you never forget.

This Happened During The Week

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This Week From Trumplvania

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Why?

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This bottle of whisky sold for a world record price

Costing £848,750 ($1.1m US), a bottle of Macallan Valerio Adami is the most expensive in the world. Only 12 bottles of the 60-year-old spirit with this particular design were released. Selling at auction in Edinburgh, the buyer’s identity is unknown.

And Finally, Has A Townsville Bulletin Sub Editor Been Moonlighting.

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That’s it for another week, folks, everything almost back to normal (except the Magpie wallet), and comments are getting posted on all sorts of things 24/7, join in, serious or fun, it’s your blog, too.  And given the computer tribulations of the past week or so, a helping hand with the associated costs would be much appreciated, the how to donate button is below. And sincere thanks to those of you who have already helped out.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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